A Name For The Baby

The baby in question is of course, not a real baby, but my book; heretofore referred to as "My Book", "The Book", or in moments of impending doom "The @%$#$O! Book".

The process of becoming a writer is much less predictable than the process of becoming a knitter, or at least it has been for me.  When I knit, I have a general degree of certainty that Yarn + Needles = Knitwear.  It may not be the knitwear that I intended, but I am pretty well guaranteed that with enough tenacity, and possibly wine, I will ultimately end up with a final product which is knitted. 

With writing, the equation seems to be a lot more ephemeral.  I often find that Time + Inspiration = Drivel.  And other times Deadline + Desperation + Crashing Hard Drive = Brilliance.

Such seems also to be the nature of naming books.  Back when I decided that what I really needed to do was write a book (sometime after deciding that I needed to design a sweater, but before deciding that I needed brain-enhancing vitamins), the title was one of the first ideas which suggested itself to me.  It was as organic as the designs themselves.  The name was perfect; it was descriptive, it was pithy, it was original.  When a publisher decided to actually make my book, it was also the first thing to go.  Apparently, there is a lot more to know about the naming of books than I knew.

Since my editor delicately informed me of the "New Working Title" of my project, its name has changed about 4 times that I know of, and probably more than that.  It seems that these things are decided by committees, or at least by more than one all-seeing human, and certainly not by anyone so lowly as the author.  I have hated every single name given to my book so far, until yesterday.  I so loathed the last one that I actually forgot it, which is probably for the best.  I was embarrassed to ask again what my own book is named, and I put it off for about two months.  When I finally summoned the courage to inquire, I received a whole new answer.  Thankfully, this one is much better, and I really hope it will stick. 

The whole experience with the name got me thinking about the nature of books and their covers, and of course, judging them thereby.  I realize now that the name given to my book is much less important then the guts inside of it, and the guts are much less likely to be changed at the publisher's whim.  As an experiment, I visited my favorite random name generator for a brainstorming session, which yielded some truly remarkable monikers.

If my book were:

A Tavern:                                       The Laughing Devil
A Fantasy Realm:                         Good Glimmering Barony
A Corporation:                              European Power Semiconductors
A Tree-Being:                               Madhazel
A Western Character:                  Edith "Bad Kid" Byrd
A Pirate Ship:                                The Dreaming Executioner
A Rampaging Giant Monster:    Gogospew, the Blasphemous Dweller of the Howling                                                                           Universe

So what's in a name?  Nothing.  And Everything.  On different hours and different days, my book could have been named any one of these, quite accurately. 

I'm dying to share the name of my book with you, and I promise that I will.  Not today, though, because the fact that they have finally chosen one I can live with means that telling the world prematurely could jinx it.  Also, how lame is it to make a big announcement that the baby has been named, and then CHANGE it later because somebody at the publisher had a different idea?  No, the day will come, and we'll all welcome my little monster into the world library with the appropriate publisher-sanctioned fanfare.  Until then we'll all just have to wait patiently for the arrival of little Wolfgang Nebuchadnezzar, and hope for the best.